Chapter 17Self-Optimizing Networks

In common with other mobile telecommunication technologies, an LTE network is controlled by a network management system. This has a wide range of functions; for example, it sets the parameters that the network elements are using, manages their software, and detects and corrects any faults in their operation. Using such a management system, an operator can remotely configure and optimize every base station in the radio access network and every component of the core network. However the process requires manual intervention, which can make it time-consuming, expensive and prone to error. To deal with this issue, 3GPP has gradually introduced a technique known as self-optimizing or self-organizing networks (SON) into LTE.

In this chapter, we cover the main self-optimization features that have been added to LTE in each of its releases. These fall into four broad categories, namely self-configuration of an LTE base station, interference coordination, mobility management and drive test minimization. We also discuss a technique known as radio access network information management (RIM), through which an LTE base station can exchange self-optimization data with the radio access networks of UMTS and GSM.

Self-optimizing networks are summarized in TR 36.902 [1] and TS 36.300 [2]. Their main impact is on the radio access network's signalling procedures, notably the ones on the X2 interface [3]. For some more detailed accounts of the use of self-optimizing ...

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